One of my favorite quotes is “Change is the only constant in life.” (Heraclitus 535 BC)
Change is challenging, isn't it? If your instincts align with mine, you might find that you have a somewhat inherent resistance to change. Our human nature is often predisposed to avoid it and yet, change is a fundamental aspect of life. We like others to change more than ourselves, right?
However, here lies the conundrum. In recent months, as we’ve had conversations with mobilizers and agencies, a recurring theme continues to emerge, suggesting we might be amidst a significant shift in missions. Knowing my own inclination to resist change, this notion both challenges and invigorates me, particularly as I learn more about how various organizations are thoughtfully adapting.
Before we get too far, it’s worth acknowledging that numerous, insightful individuals are wrestling with this topic as well. Given the vast scope of the subject, I won't attempt to present a universal solution. Rather, I aim to highlight some of the tensions I’ve been hearing and experiencing in hope that this will invite you to engage as well—to question, reflect, and discern where God might be directing us.
I invite you to share your perspective or help draw attention to elements I may have overlooked.
Firstly, these tensions in the realm of missions indicative of the complex nature of the realities we face. These are not binary choices or “either-or” scenarios. Rather, we are called to navigate the world, holding these tensions in balance, while wrestling with where God has called us, both as individuals and as part of a larger organization or tribe.
Secondly, it is important to clarify that some of the following statements are generalized observations. They may not resonate universally across all cultures or communities. They are, however, reflective of the challenges and experiences regularly arising in our conversations, and thus, merit consideration.
So let’s explore some of these emerging tensions below.
This duality raises a compelling question: Is the locus of Christian missions shifting? And if so, how do Western organizations fit into this new paradigm?
These young hearts yearn to enact meaningful change in the world, yet there seems to be a noted lack of resiliency within this generation. The notion of ‘packing up your coffin’ and committing one’s life to a singular mission in a foreign land appears to be waning. How do we reconcile this paradox, and what new forms of engagement might emerge?
However, as we hopefully navigate towards more sustainable and meaningful impact, does this bring its own set of challenges? What are the implications of this trend, and how does it affect the way missions are designed and executed?
In sharing these tensions, this post is an invitation for all of us to grapple with the changes we perceive, to ask challenging questions, and to prayerfully seek God’s direction in this evolving landscape. After all, we are participants in God’s grand narrative, called to faithfully serve while continually adapting to the changing tides of our world.
Did we miss other tensions that you are facing? Are there other perspectives or thoughts that you would like to share? Please join our conversations at Missions Made Simple as we would love to hear your thoughts and perspectives.
And if you, by chance, have insights or have navigated these tensions successfully, please share your wisdom with us!
This is a space of exploration, and your voice matters. Let’s journey through these changes and uncertainties together, with open hearts and a steadfast faith.